Written around A.D. 63 by an unknown author, a letter titled “To The Hebrews” was meant to strengthen Messianic Jews who found themselves under attack by the enemy in the form of persecution against Christians, or anyone else who pledged their support of Jesus. In its introduction, the author declared Jesus the exact representation of God in the flesh, a man who fulfilled all prophecies including living a perfect, sinless life that was taken on the cross, where the Savior died for our sins, then Christ’s presence among men concluded with His ascension to Heaven where a seat was reserved for Him, at the right hand of the Father, a position of power, authority and power over all other angels, appointed messengers of the Creator.
Next, the author established the difference between the angels and the Son of God, a title reserved to Jesus who was born of God, and unlike the angel who were created beings, Christ was begotten as the firstborn, and just as the heavenly Father, would be worshiped as such. After this, the letter’s focus shifted from the deity of Jesus to the importance of His message, calling on readers to pay close attention to the gospel taught by the Son of God or risk drifting away from the benefits associated with the truth spoken by the Messiah. Then, the author cited a Psalm of David, prompting his readers to identify this “man” as the physical body of Jesus, the part of Him that was created by God and exposed to temptation, to sin. In death, the human part of the Savior placed Him below angels, who have continuous access to Heaven, while Jesus was cast into a prison, then beaten and eventually, nailed to a cross where He died. After His death on the cross, the Messiah was resurrected from the dead, fulfilling prophecy and after 40 days, He ascended to Heaven where He continues to rejoice along side God, and with the angels whom He now is once again considered “above.” Then, the author pointed out how both Moses and Jesus were faithful to their respective ministry, and as such, those who rely on Christ for their salvation should remain faithful to Him with whom believers place their hope and trust. It is to those who stand fast and patiently continue to obediently serve the Lord who will inherit a place in the kingdom of God.
Following this, the Holy Spirit revealed to the author how God was angry with those He doomed for forty years in the wilderness, as their hearts were hardened toward God in spite of the countless miracles He performed, including delivering them from bondage in Egypt through Moses, one of His prophets. The author then reminded his readers of words shared by God through scripture, that He did indeed offer rest to those who believe and obey, those whose faith is accompanied by works done for the glory of the divine Father. Alternatively, God promised no rest to those who deny His divinity. Then, the author wrote about the prominence and omnipresence of God, the Almighty, the One who created all living creatures and He who knows our hearts, our thoughts. No one can hide from Yahweh, the One true God who is the final judge over His creation.
Next, the author of the letter to the Hebrews described how, just as the high priest of the Old Covenant, Jesus, the divine Priest ascended to His throne located in the most holy place by passing through 3 areas starting with the atmospheric heaven, the stellar heaven and finally, taking His place among the abode of God. It is in Him believers should place their hope, and through faith in the risen Savior believers must rely for salvation. Also, high priesthood was an appointment resulting from a calling from God, and that just as Aaron, the prophet and older brother of Moses, the ministry of the high priest is ordained by the divine Father, and should not be taken lightly or endeavored by anyone driven by profession or profit, a clear indication of a sinful heart not suited for spiritual leadership within the family of God. So it was that, Jesus, the divine High Priest was made perfect by living a perfect life, and dying a perfect death according to God’s perfect plan. In spite of this eternal perfection, the author of the letter to the Hebrews calls his audience “dull of hearing” as they seemingly chose to rebel against the truth, and opt to deviate from the narrow path the leads to eternal life. Because of this, they should seek spiritual maturity in the word, in fellowship and worship as each one strives to fulfill the great commission, bringing glory to God and advancing the gospel to the four corners of the earth.
Then, the author of the letter to the Hebrews called on his readers to evolve from the elementary principles of Christ which stem from works based salvation, the basis of Judaism, and focus on spiritual maturity in the way of salvation by faith in the risen Savior. Also, the Hebrews were to abide by God’s will and repent from their sin, promote water baptism, a public symbol of one’s re-birth as a believer, lay hands on those in need of miraculous healing and teach the concept of salvation by faith as well as warn of the ultimate price for those who choose to reject the truth about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ.
Next, the message changed from one of warning to one of encouragement, as the author of the letter to the Hebrews shifted focus from wrath to blessings, congratulating readers on their works driven by their faith in the risen Savior. Then, the author reminded his readers of the promise God, in the way of Melchizedek, the Lord in the flesh made to Abraham, the father of many nations, that he would have more descendants than can be counted.
The author then questioned the reason for a new priesthood, as the Levitical line of priests provided a reconciliation with God, made perfect through the law revealed to Moses, whose older brother Aaron was divinely appointed the first High Priest of the Israelites. It was through Aaron’s lineage that priests were chosen unlike Melchizedek, who was not an Israelite. And, unlike the 84 High Priests who served after Aaron, until A.D. 70 when the temple was destroyed, Jesus’ priesthood is eternal, having no end as He will live forever, and overcame death on the cross to walk among men and women for forty days before ascending to the right hand of God in Heaven. Then, the author called Jesus’ ministry superior to all others since His ministry is meant to have Him serve as the intercessor between man and God, the divine Creator who made a promise through Christ that anyone who believes will be saved from the wages of their sin, unlike the previous promise based on obedience to the law which Jesus came to fulfill, then by grace, free us from bondage. Next, the author revealed how God’s new covenant was different than the law since the new promise relied on inwardly actions rather than outwardly, as the new covenant was based on faith, and grace instead of works and judgment.
After this, readers were reminded that the first covenant was based on an agreement, with salvation relying on sacrificial rituals first revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai by God Himself. It was through works the Jews were saved from the wage of their sin, and by sacrificial animal blood offerings their sin was forgiven. But, since Jesus shed His blood on the cross as part of the new covenant, animal sacrifices are no longer the way to forgiveness, nor works the channel to salvation. Then, the author called Jesus the Mediator between God and man, a title and role He earned when He gave His life on the cross, so that all those who believe in Him will be saved from the wages of sin which is eternal agony in Hell, where Satan and his army rule over all those who denied the Messiah the glory He deserves for His sacrifice.
The author also makes reference to the patriarchs who, by faith, served God as each one was blessed according to their dedication to their heavenly Father, Yahweh, the one true King. From Abraham, who left his home seeking the promise land, to his only begotten son Isaac whose sons Esau and Jacob, who by faith, blessed the sons of Joseph. Also by faith, Moses chose to live as a slave rather than a king, and by faith he led God’s people out of Egypt.
Also, the walls of Jericho fell by faith alone as God’s people circled the city for seven days, and by faith in God, kings, judges and prophets found themselves in God’s favor. And, by faith many believers lived under less than ideal circumstances, serving God wholeheartedly in spite of their situation. Still, those in Christ are called to spread God’s love in spite of persecution, trusting that our salvation is secure as our names are written in the book of life.
“7 Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.” (Hebrews 13:7)
Here, the author of the letter to the Hebrews calls on believers to show respect to spiritual leaders, to those who lead the sheep to the divine shepherd who is Christ, the Lord. In this section of his letter, the author defines the duties os spiritual leaders in that A) they are called by God to rule over their flock, B) they are required to preach the word and teach the gospel and C), they are expected to lead by example so to establish a clear path for believers to follow.
“8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.” (Hebrews 13:8-9)
Next, the author reminds us how Jesus, the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega is perfect, and that He will be perfect forever. Believers are to keep their focus on Christ, and dedicate our lives to serving the One true God as each one among us answers the call to the great commission to advance the gospel and share the truth about the risen Savior.
Then, the author calls on his audience to refrain from doctrines that are contrary to the word of God, as such teachings, which are compared to foods that are consumed but carry no benefit to those who place their trust in false prophets.
“10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp.” (Hebrews 13:10-11)
The author continues on with another food reference, this time mentioning the sacrificial food and blood placed in the tabernacle by the High Priest, who was not allowed to consume the offering meant for God as the remains of the animals was burnt outside the temple.
“12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.” (Hebrews 13:12-14)
Just as the animals offered as sacrifices, Jesus suffered as a living offering for the sins of man, and believers who place their trust in the Savior must also suffer until the day comes when we enter the Holy place which is called Heaven, where we will be made righteous.
“15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Hebrews 13:15-16)
Next, the author calls on believers to give praise to Jesus, the One who gave up His life for our sins, the Christ who died on the cross. We are also to share the love of God, and do onto other as we would have them do onto us, as such behavior is pleasing to our divine Father.
“17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17)
Lastly, the author comes full circle as he reminds his readers to joyfully submit to those who God placed to rule over us, as each leader is held to a higher standard. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives,
We praise you Lord for the wisdom found through the Letter to the Hebrews,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we continue to learn more about you through your word.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your ways, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre